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The city that represents the future of Brazil

Bridge at Sunset

May 10, 2012
Florianopolis, Brazil

Brazil is undoubtedly a land of superlatives. One may easily defend that it is the most beautiful country in the world, or claim that Brazilians are the friendliest people in the world. And yes, even the most attractive.

Economically, the story is the same; at $2.4 trillion, Brazil’s economy is twice the size of its nearest regional rival (Mexico), and as a consumer market, it has twice the population with a far greater propensity to consume.

Moreover, foreign investment in Brazil is greater than every other country in Latin America. Combined. It’s staggering. The opportunities here are truly immense.

One of the things that’s so compelling about Brazil is that there are so many places to be; in a lot of countries, the vast majority of business and financial opportunities are concentrated in a single city.

Yet in Brazil, from Rio to Sao Paulo to Belo Horizonte to Brasilia to Salvador to Curitiba to Manaus to Porto Alegre to Recife, there are really a lot of options for major cities full of ripe opportunities.

One of these is Florianopolis, metro population 1.1 million. And in a country characterized by so many superlatives, Florianopolis may be the city of superlatives within Brazil.

It’s a laid-back beach town. It’s a vibrant university town. It’s a rapidly-growing technology hub. It has the highest reported quality of life in Brazil, among the highest in the world. It was even named ‘the best place to live in Brazil.’

brazil 300x225 The city that represents the future of Brazil

And with good reason. Florianopolis is gorgeous. The weather is excellent. Cost of living is much lower than in nearby Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. It’s safe. It’s connected, with nonstop flights to major cities in Brazil, as well as the region– Buenos Aires, Santiago, Montevideo.

The biggest reason to come here, though, is that Florianopolis represents Brazil’s future, probably more than any other city. This is saying a lot given that Brazil itself represents the future of the west.

It’s a young, intensely energetic place. Smart, creative, productive people from around the world, and especially from Brazil, are flocking here to create the next big thing, from energy to nanotech. Plus, some of the region’s best incubators are here to help advance new ideas.

The local culture is open to rapid change, growth, and diversity in a way that’s unusually refreshing given Brazil’s highly bureaucratic, populist leanings. I’ve also found English proficiency in Florianopolis to be much better than in many other parts of the country.

Bottom line: Florianopolis should be on your radar if…

1) You’re an entrepreneur interested in a Brazilian-based business with exposure to world markets. (note: entrepreneurs can obtain residency, and eventual citizenship, by investing roughly $80,000 USD in a Brazilian startup…)

2) Young people with a lot of drive and energy who want to be part of the next boom, but don’t necessarily have a precise idea of exactly what they want to be doing.

3) Technology professionals, including those with families, looking to relocate. There are a lot of tech jobs available here, and not a lot of locals able to fill them. (note: being hired by a Brazilian company is another way to obtain residency…)

4) Retirees. Between the weather, the safety, the medical facilities, and the gorgeous surroundings, Florianopolis is a great place to live out the Golden Years. Even better, you won’t ever have to get on a plane to visit the grandkids… they’ll be beating down your door to come visit you!

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • disqus_TLcMqwnySr

    I came to the same conclusion – Florianopolis is alive! By comparison, Rio is an old town struggling to rise to the 21st century. Even with the industrial capacity of nearby Niteroi, there doesn’t seem to be as much productivity as Florianopolis – not to mention the nightlife dwarfing Leblon.

    As far as tech, it’s a breeding ground for ideas like this. Even more than a year ago, ideas similar to Dwolla and Hyperboria were being developed. It’s a different kind of laid-back environment than Rio.

  • TerryNeudorf

    Sounds divine.  The key for me to relocate to either Chile or any other South American destination is a job – which paves the way for residency and a host of other things which are much harder to do without a job.  However, I’ve found that the attitude of employers in South America is that they want to hire in person, and are unwilling to hire someone BEFORE seeing them.  This may differ though with international companies that are set up already in South America.  Do you have any good resources for finding these types of tech companies who are willing to hire non-spanish or Portuegese speakers?

  • Evelinfroes

    Terry Neudorf I suggest you to send Curriculum Vitae to Human Resourses corporations. Their clients will certainly hire without it being in person.

    • TerryNeudorf


      • Hopla

        Any examples about IT human resource corporations?

  • Bruno

    As a Brazilian from Porto Alegre/RS (6h drive from Florianopolis; yes, Brazil is huge) I l really like seeing good stuff ’bout Brazil.

    But I must say that there are some stuff around here that the media does not quite cover it properly. One quick example: Brazil is becoming a VERY expensive country – a country where you have to pay everything privately: education, health plans and much more.

    We pay a lot of taxes but we don’t get much back – if at all!

    For example did you know that the very same car that is produced here in Brazil, will end up costing around 30-40% more than in Argentina!?

    Yeah, it’s absurd – but people pay for it! IMHO, probably due to a lack of proper education kowing that we are getting overcharged heavily for most of the stuff here.

    But I digress.

    Back to Florianopolis – yes, it is indeed a beautiful and lovely city. I’ve been there quite a few times and have many friends who actually live there.

    It is great – but are you prepared to go through more than 2hours locked up in a traffic jam!? What about overpriced rentals!?

    Florianopolis being an island brings some problems with it: there isn’t a lot of options for where you may get in and out of the island – and yes, that will cause quite a lot of traffic.

    Just the other day a friend of mine who lives in Florianopolis posted something on Facebook how he was AGAINST building a new bridge ’cause they simply didn’t want MORE people coming into the city – it is already overcrowded!

    So in a nutsheel, yes, I love my country and it is one great place – but be careful about what you hear about here, there are far too many things that you don’t really “get it” ’till you experience them first hand.


    • tu_ne_cede_malis

      What about your hometown Bruno? Porto Alegre is better, you would say?

    • disqus_TLcMqwnySr

      One of the things that struck me was the possibility of buying almost anything at any vendor using instalment payments adding up to 2-4x the cost of the product in other areas of the world.

      But is it really “overcharging” or are other areas of the world being “undercharged”? The United States in particular benefits from having the global reserve currency in that goods are artificially inexpensive relative to nearly everywhere else.

    • Lino Guedes

       Yes, Bruno, the cost to maintain the State is too high. Even though Florianopolis is among the best places, politicians are a point to point.

    • Carolina Vieira

      Why are you showing the bad side? Every place has it’s own problems! Come on! Be proud of your country! You don’t see americans nor europeans saying how bad the public health is, or how slow the economy grows!
      Be optimistic about it! Don’t hold on to the grudge people from Porto Alegre have with us from Florianópolis ;D There are around 20 new buildings being built in every neighborhood here, our demand for places with good quality is raising so much that in the last year I have visited at least 10 new bars/cafes that would be very trendy anywhere else, the city is growing in so many aspects! We have a great concentration of the Brazilian elite! We are one of the cities with the biggest gay community, with environment awareness groups, with a young market that cares about new places to hang out and new experiences!

      Just because you have one or two friends around here that are worried about the city growth doesn’t mean we are not the city of the future! And just because you guys are a a big city, doesn’t mean you should prevent us from growing as well! Don’t worry, Porto Alegre is always in the hearts and minds of everybody, so let this brazilian pessimism go and advertise how wonderful it would be if we had more investors!

      People from the world, we are talking about a Brazlian Ibiza! this place is crazy on summer, and very relaxing on winter! And I do agree a visit would be definitely a milestone for your businesses! You will fall in love with this place, just like I did and many more have.

  • Mateo Mal

    Brazil is one of the few countries that “gets it” in terms of just enough foggy regulations to keep people on their toes, yet enough to facilitate economic growth and prosperity. 
    I agree with Terry that the general attitude in South and Central America is little more personal in that an employer wants to meet and talk to someone, imagine that!!

  • Ed Allen

    Beautiful… except for the Chemtrails. 

  • Mongolian

    How is the Real Estate market overthere? What are the options and conditions (capital gains taxes) for foreign investors?

    Thank you.

  • Idahosa

    “note: entrepreneurs can obtain residency, and eventual citizenship, by investing roughly $80,000 USD in a Brazilian startup…”

    Could you (or anyone) please provide more information on this?  Perhaps links to relevant govt sites or articles explaining the process.  I can read Portuguese too. 


  • Marcio

    I am a Brazilian, I work on technology field (IT), I know Florianopolis and lots of other cities, and I have never seen so much bullshit written down on an article. Florianopolis has a very small economy, very few tech opportunities and could not even be quoted on same article with SP and/or RJ.

  • Carolina Vieira

    These are official websites for those who are willing to find numbers about Brasil/Santa Catarina/ Florianópolis.
    They have english and spanish versions for those who are interested in knowing more!!

  • Marcello

    Simon would highly recommend you visit Paraty & Trindade.  The beaches there put the beaches in Floripa to shame. I was recently there as well and decided to leave early after learning the beauty in Paraty.  Its only a few hours away by bus from Rio.. currently living here in Rio

  • Ricardo Michael


  • Keeping tight

    Pretty shallow report. What is it about? House market? The return in a 2004  property investment is 272% or a solid 34% p.a, however, only 12% p.a from real state and the rest from FX BRL/GBP.  Not too bad.  Nowadays, keeping tight and an eye in the FX as Brazilian GDP is going down and soon the US base rate is going up.  Then, I’m back. 

    If it’s about cost line beauty. Nothing compare to Mozambique. Long gone sailing in Bazaruto Islands.  Back to the real world enduring Greek salad. Dammit.

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